In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” the Arkansas Republican was asked about a University of Arkansas study finding increased tariffs could hurt farmers in his state.
“These tariffs are going to end up hurting the Chinese and some Americans, I’ll grant you that. I believe they’re going to hurt the Chinese more then they will Americans in part because Chinese companies and their government have been cheating the United States for so long,” Mr. Cotton said.
“There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I grant you that. But also that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas that are fallen heroes or laid to rest in Arlington,” he said.
When host Gayle King interjected, “You can’t compare those two sacrifices,” Mr. Cotton said farmers see the sacrifices being made by members of the military, and it inspires them to bear some losses for “prosperity in the long term.”
“I hear from farmers who are worried about opening up new markets and getting their products to market, but they also understand that China is a serious competitor to the United States and wants to displace us around the world,” Mr. Cotton said.
“They look at the sacrifices that soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines make around the world, and they are willing to bear some of the sacrifices in the short-term to hopefully in the long-term ensure our long-term prosperity and security,” he said.
Mr. Cotton may have made the military comparison as he was on the show to promote his new book, “Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery,” which releases tomorrow.
Josh Mahony, who is running to be the senator’s Democratic challenger in the 2020 election, called Mr. Cotton’s statement “disgusting.”
“My opponent Tom Cotton shouldn’t use the sacrifices of our troops to cover up for a disastrous trade war. Arkansas families are hurting because of this, and all Cotton is offering is offensive BS like this,” Mr. Mahony tweeted.
President Trump raised Chinese tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese imports, escalating a trade war that appeared to be subsiding as negotiators worked toward a deal.
China retaliated against Mr. Trump’s tariffs and will be raising tariffs to 25 percent on 60 billion dollars worth of U.S. goods.
• S.A. Miller and Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this article.
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